First SU African American Woman Civil Engineering Graduate Finds Things Have Changed for the Better

Priscilla Tyree Williams ’86 holds a unique distinction at Syracuse University. She is the first African American woman to have graduated with a civil engineering degree from SU. Today, she oversees the implementation of the capital improvement program for the City of Raleigh, North Carolina, Construction Management Division as the city’s construction projects administrator. And she is an ardent supporter of the College of Engineering and Computer Science—generously giving back to the college for the past 10 years.

But if you had told her when she was an 18-year-old college student that her relationship with the college would eventually be so strong, she would have had her doubts.

“There were times when I did not feel supported during my time at Syracuse. That made it very difficult for me. It made me question if I was even cut out to be an engineer,” says Tyree Williams.

Unfortunately, experiences like hers are all too common for women and minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). While progress has been made, these disciplines have a historically poor track record of inclusion at a societal level. The fact that she earned her degree in the face of these obstacles is due in large part to sheer determination; however, key relationships and occurrences brightened her overall SU experience over time, and eventually inspired her to embrace her alma mater and her calling as an engineer.

Read the full story at SU News.